Russia-Ukraine war: Leaders in the UN have called for restraint
India has said hostility between Russia and Ukraine if not checked would spiral into a major crisis that can severely destabilize the region. Russian President Vladimir Putin this morning ordered Russian special forces to move into separatist controlled areas in eastern Ukraine, which Russia has formally recognised as independent nations.
"The situation is in danger of spiralling into a major crisis. We express our deep concern over the developments, which if not handled carefully, may well undermine the peace and security of the region," India's Permanent Representative to the United Nations TS Tirumurti said.
Ukraine requested an urgent UN Security Council, or UNSC, meet after the heads of its breakaway regions, Donetsk and Luhansk, asked Mr Putin for help.
"We call for immediate de-escalation and refraining from any further action that could contribute to a worsening of the situation. We call on all parties to exert greater efforts to bridge divergent interests," Mr Tirumurti said, adding the legitimate security interests of all parties should be taken into account.
Russia's actions are likely to be confined to the two breakaway areas in eastern Ukraine's Donbas region, experts say; however, Ukraine is not convinced Russian forces would stop there.
Emphasising the need for all sides to maintain peace and security by exercising restraint, Mr Tirumurti said the solution lies in sustained diplomatic dialogues. He said India is helping its citizens living in different areas of Ukraine to return home via special flights.
After Mr Putin's announcement about Russian special operations in eastern Ukraine, explosions were heard before dawn in Ukraine's capital Kyiv and the eastern port city of Mariupol. People in both cities heard powerful blasts and in Mariupol, close to the frontline and the Russian border, residents reported hearing artillery in the city's eastern suburbs, news agency AFP reported.
The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, or NATO, chief Jens Stoltenberg denounced Russia's "reckless and unprovoked attack" on Ukraine, warning it put "countless" lives in jeopardy. "I strongly condemn Russia's reckless and unprovoked attack on Ukraine, which puts at risk countless civilian lives. Once again, despite our repeated warnings and tireless efforts to engage in diplomacy, Russia has chosen the path of aggression against a sovereign and independent country," Mr Stoltenberg said in a statement.